Australia Aims to Avert Port Strike

Posted by Joseph Keefe
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Teekay Shipping took part in Australian government-sponsored mediation talks on Tuesday to avert industrial action by tugboat operators that could halt a quarter of global seaborne iron ore exports.

There were no immediate comments on any outcome from the talks. BHP Billiton has previously warned that a strike by tugboat operators at Port Hedland on the Indian Ocean could cost up to $100 million in lost revenue each day.

Deckhands, engineers and masters of the tugboats that guide vessels in and out of the port are pressing operator Teekay Shipping for more pay and leave.

Deckhands, represented by the Maritime Union of Australia, last week approved plans to strike for one, two or seven days but have yet to decide whether to stop work. Any strike by them would have to take place by June 11.

Teekay and the union had mediation talks on Tuesday held by Australia's industrial tribunal, the Fair Work Commission. A second round is due to take place in June.

If there is no resolution, one way the government could halt a strike by arguing the action would hurt Australia's economy.

Teekay could look at replacing deckhands with non-union workers, but people familiar with the issue said a lack of trained replacements would rule that out.

"We want to ensure the dispute does not impact our day-to-day operations and we are reviewing all options available to us to mitigate any potential impact on our business going forward," Fortescue Metals Group Chief Executive Nev Power said in a statement.

He did not elaborate but Fortescue is within its rights to ask the Fair Work Commission to stop the strike as a third party facing damages.

Iron ore is Australia's biggest export earner. The value of exports are forecast to climb 35 percent to A$76.8 billion ($71.80 billion)in the year to June 2014 from a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics.

BHP has already warned that a strike would cost $100 million in lost sales a day, based on exports running at around 1.1 million tonnes a day at a price around $100 a tonne.

"BHP's broadcasting its position to obtain support from other stakeholders, so they could seek an order for suspending or terminating protected industrial action in a case where significant economic damage is being inflicted on the Australian economy," said Tim Greenall, counsel at law firm Madgwicks.

The government is so far monitoring the situation.

"At this stage we're just hopeful both parties can reach an agreement," said David Allender, a spokesman for Employment Minister Senator Eric Abetz.

The deck hands have been the first to back strike action.

The engineers, represented by the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers, are voting on a plan to strike for up to two days, with the ballot result due on June 10. Tugboat captains, represented by the Australian Maritime Officers Union, hold a ballot due on May 30.

All crews work 28 days on, then get 28 days off. The deckhands want four weeks of leave on top of that and are pressing for pay equivalent to 70 percent of the A$220,000 that masters earn, up from A$135,000 a year.

 

Reporting by Sonali Paul

Maritime Reporter June 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Indonesia Expects Total to Decide on Mahakam within days

French oil firm Total  will decide how much interest it will retain from 2018 in Indonesia's offshore Mahakam oil and gas block over the next two days, the

Research Vessel Heincke: Serving Science for 25 years

7 July 2015. A quarter of a century old, with over 900,000 kilometres (488,842 nautical miles) logged and still on the cutting edge of science and technology:

Stena RoRo Charters Three Vessels

Stena RoRo has reached an agreement with the Finnish shipping company Godby Shipping to long-term charter their three RoRo vessels Misida, Misana and Miranda.

Legal

Indonesia Expects Total to Decide on Mahakam within days

French oil firm Total  will decide how much interest it will retain from 2018 in Indonesia's offshore Mahakam oil and gas block over the next two days, the

Asia-N Europe Container Freight Rates Jumps 60%

Shipping freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe rose by 60.4 percent to $879 per 20-foot container (TEU) in the week ended on Friday,

Research Vessel Heincke: Serving Science for 25 years

7 July 2015. A quarter of a century old, with over 900,000 kilometres (488,842 nautical miles) logged and still on the cutting edge of science and technology:

Bulk Carrier Trends

MSC Geneva Gets Fatter

A revolutionary new option to scrapping for younger panamax containerships deemed too small for a tradelane involves widening the vessel rather than adding length.

Grimaldi Orders Three PCTCs

After signing an order for the construction of five new ships two weeks ago, the Italian shipowner  Grimaldi Group has signed another contract for the construction

Is It Too Late To Tangle With Spike in Shipping Market

A series of interesting and extreme price spikes is going on in the shipping market today, says Clarksons, provider of global shipping and offshore market intelligence.

Ports

G6 Alliance Extends Asia – North America Service

In response to market demand, members of the G6 Alliance today announced the below enhancement to improve the Asia – North America (East Coast) trade. NYK will

3D Printing in Rotterdam Port

Is 3D printing just a hype? Or is it really possible to print spare parts for ships that can actually withstand the requirements set for the often "rough" working

Caltex Replaces Australian Crew

The 36 Australian crew members of an Caltex tanker refusing to set sail after they were told their jobs would be gone after the next run. MR tanker Alexander Spirit (40,

People in the News

Aberdeen Pupils Peek into Subsea Oil & Gas Technology

Pupils at an Aberdeen primary school were given a rare insight into the depths of the oil and gas industry’s subsea sector after getting to sit in the driving

Search for Missing after Philippine Ferry Sinks, 38 dead

Divers will search waters in the central Philippines on Friday for 15 people still missing after a ferry carrying 187 passengers and crew sank a day earlier,

MOL Renames Group Ship Management Co.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. announced today that effective July 2, its wholly-owned ship management company for dry bulkers, New Asian Shipping Company, Limited

Government Update

Caltex Replaces Australian Crew

The 36 Australian crew members of an Caltex tanker refusing to set sail after they were told their jobs would be gone after the next run. MR tanker Alexander Spirit (40,

Antwerp, Duisburg Ports to Upgrade Rly Link

The Port of Antwerp and duisport are intensifying their cooperation as the Port of Antwerp will participate in the existing rail shuttle service connecting the two ports.

Greek Shipping Mulls Cyprus Move

Greek shipping companies are looking into moving to Cyprus due to the instability and uncertainty in Greece, it emerged, reports Cyprus News Agency.   The director

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1943 sec (5 req/sec)